In their own words: Council Seat A Lucas Sawyer
NN: What are your qualifications to run for the Nome Common Council?
Lucas Sawyer: Some say we are in a second gilded age, facing the same social issues as the first: income inequality and concerns about the influence of money in politics. Former President Chester A. Arthur, with little experience, rose to the challenge in embracing civil service reform. Great ideas are what built this country, credentials and social status came second, or worse. I don’t have a political science degree from Harvard, I am not wealthy, but I have great ideas – ideas for fixing our city, our state and our country. I don’t just solve problems for a living; I create solutions. I have an analytical mind, and I love asking tough questions.
I studied Business Administration in college, I’m currently pursuing a Mini MBA, and serve on the Museum and Library Commission for the City of Nome.
NN: Why are you running for office?
Lucas Sawyer: Nome is a young town; the median age of a resident is 32-years-old. I will be 32 this November – I personify the average Nomeite, and I want to make sure that all voices are heard. Because Nome is a small town, politics and business are uncomfortably close and there is a lot of potential for conflicts of interest. I work full time, but not for a local company – this provides me with a fair and unbiased voice when representing the great City of Nome, and its wonderful people.
NN: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenge facing Nome today and how do you propose as councilmember to address them?
Lucas Sawyer: Nome is a great town, but we have a hard time attracting talented and skilled workers because of slow economic development, and lack of affordable housing. We are stuck in a catch-22 – but more jobs will spur more housing. The city is currently demolishing abandoned buildings, our own form of urban blight, just not quickly enough. But with each new tear down, we should be building up – building new homes, new businesses, new community centers. The construction of these buildings will provide jobs to locals, and anyone that wants to call Nome home. I will work on creating new ways to encourage job creation and tourism, which will generate revenue for the city, to help address those problems and the problem of alcohol abuse.
NN: How do you propose as councilmember to stimulate public interest in attending meetings and becoming involved in city issues?
Lucas Sawyer: I have a three point plan for stimulating public interest:
- Rephrasing ‘issues’ as ‘opportunities’ in all city communications is more inviting and will engage more people.
- I propose making city employees, elected and appointed officials more accessible - luncheons, lunch-and-learns, social media accounts and more.
- The way in which younger generations communicate is changing faster than many local governments can keep up with. The city council meeting format is not engaging younger citizens, so making it more social media and streaming friendly is step one.
NN: How can the Council become motivated to provide leadership in vigorously seeking solutions to overuse of alcohol?
Lucas Sawyer: I have close friends and family that have struggled with alcohol abuse, some are currently facing that struggle while others are in recovery, so the problem is not new to me. The State of Alaska was wise in classifying alcoholism as a disease, as criminalizing it just does not work. I believe the council is motivated in finding a solution, but a creative solution that is culturally sensitive has not been proposed. I am the leader our city needs that can help to bring creative solutions to a vote.